So what sort of qualities should you actually look for when it comes to recruiting a sales person? Here is my list in no particular order…
Forgive me if you’re sick of me saying this after 20 weeks, but successful sales is all about concentrating on your prospect. Doing a lot of qualitive research, understanding their needs and sometimes pointing them in another direction. You want salespeople who are going to listen more than they talk, who aren’t afraid to ask stupid questions and can actually understand where their prospects are coming from.
One of my core reasons for not judging salespeople based purely on success is that it encourages a ‘cut and run’ mentality. This is where the salesperson will put their need to get a sale above the customers actual needs. This often results in issues down the line and by burning a customer with a small job for immediate profit you may risk work down the line. Sales is all about relationships and you want someone who understands that.
Sales is a hard old life and undoubtedly you will face more than your face share of rejection. This can become disheartening, especially when you’re doing all the right things and getting nothing back. It’s important to hire people who can bounce back quickly, and will keep going despite sometimes adverse conditions. Try disagreeing with them about sometime during an interview and see how they react…
Unless your salesperson is coming from an extremely similar company, it’s likely there will be a learning curve involved. A sales person needs to understand your business, its customers and your product both thoroughly and quickly so they can get on with the job.
A phrase often seen in job adverts for sales people, you want people who are going to be able to roll up their sleeves and get on with the job at hand. You want to hire people who are goal orientated rather than task orientated, and can see the bigger picture. Look for sales people who have gone outside their brief or thought out of the box to get new customers in the past. The right salesperson will put the pressure on themselves to get in sales.
Any salesperson is going to be the face of your business and so they need to be presentable. This is certainly not the easiest thing to judge in an interview where it’s expected an applicant will come suited and booted, but you want someone who is at least going to look after themselves and won’t be going to a sales pitch with last night’s curry stains on their shirt.
With these in mind it’s important to consider what we’re NOT looking for too.